As a sports physiotherapist my primary aim is to always encourage injury prevention.
Preparation for the demands of cricket must include a balance between too little and too much. Just because footy season is finished and cricket season starts, doesn’t mean it time to kick back and relax. In fact,(Stretch and Orchard ) demonstrated injury was more likely to occur in the early part of the season. Appropriate high intensity running capabilities do reduce the risk of injury (Gabbett), and thus should be encouraged to continue into any preseason program. A reduced level of fitness will result in not just physical fatigue, but also mental fatigue.
Recovery is one of the most important as aspects of any preparation and is often overlooked. Burnout and fatigue is more often than not a product of poor recovery. Importantly, overuse injuries can be viewed as the accumulation of training adaptations with inadequate rest intervals, or what is referred to as ‘overreaching’. We know that fatigue is a factor in the incidence of injury, but it is also can have an impact on the game – where the wickets are lost or the catches are dropped.
Adopting a few simple principals as part of any regular program can help maximise recovery and minimise injury. A long afternoon in the sun fielding requires stamina and a greater tolerance to fatigue. So start with good hydration and nutrition.
- Drinking plenty of water in the hours prior to playing and ensuring replacement of electrolytes during the game are essential for any long day in the sun, and will prevent cramping and tightness the following morning.
- Eating for performance will give you the edge over your competitors. Pre-game meals consisting of high carbohydrates and low in fat, 1-2 hours prior will load your body with the necessary sugars. Light, high energy foods such as fruit during the day and a healthy balanced meal (proteins and carbs) at the end of the day will replenish your body and aid recovery.
Our body recovers best during sleep. A routine and regulated sleep pattern will enhance a good sleep.
Other traditional methods of recovery that I recommend within an elite sporting environment are equally as important, such as ice, massage and stretching. Moreover, unloading the joint structures from the ‘impact’ of running, while maintaining an active exercise program, can be achieved with hydrotherapy/swimming program.
What is your role within the team? Are you physically prepared?
Research by Cricket Australia (Orchard et al) shows that fast bowlers have an increased incidence of injury related to the type of physical preparation, number of overs bowled and the intensity of the ground reaction forces at delivery. The age of the individual will also have some bearing on the likelihood of injury, with younger players being more susceptible to repetitive micro trauma to their underdeveloped musculoskeletal systems, particularly bowlers in their late teens and early 20’s (Dennis et al).
Cricket is sport with a very specific set of biomechanical tasks required to achieve optimal performance. As such a specific subset of injuries can occur with the repetitive nature of these tasks (Dennis). Cricket generally has a high incidence of lower quadrant injuries and within fast bowlers a higher incidence (16%) of lower back complaints (Orchard et al).
Certain musculoskeletal anomalies, such as available ankle and hip range of motion, can predict these injuries (Dennis), and therefore a physiotherapist physical examination/screening assessment can assist in highlighting the dysfunctions that potentially cause these injuries (Sims, Beakley). More importantly, an appropriate program for the lower quadrant can then be put in place, in conjunction with the coaching staff, to minimise the time out of the game with injuries during the season.
Fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee almost had his career cut short with a lower back stress fracture after initially ignoring the pain. Touted as a crucial element to his recovery, his Physiotherapy rehabilitation program included a long process to change his running action into a more efficient technique, minimising the impact on his body.
With expertise and understanding of lower limb biomechanics, injury prevention strategies and rehabilitation mechanisms, the experienced sports and musculoskeletal injury management team at Physioworks Health Group Camberwell can help your cricket.
Brad Fernihough is an APA Sports Physiotherapist at Physioworks Health Group Camberwell, and lead physiotherapist assigned to the Camberwell Magpie Cricket Club. His treatment expertise extends across a range of Performance disciplines including Cricket and Dance. For treatment with Brad please call on 9889 6611 for a booking or contact him at email@example.com
Stretch R and Orchard J, Cricket injuries: a longitudinal study of the nature of injuries to South African cricketers. Br J Sports Med. 2003 June; 37(3): 250–253.
Orchard J, James T, Kountouris A, Farhart P. Cricket Injuries. In: Sports Injuries. United States: Oxford University Press 2011. p. 506-510.
Orchard J, James T, Kountouris A, Portus M. Changes to injury profile (and recommended cricket injury definitions) based on the increased frequency of Twenty20 cricket matches. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine. 2010; 1:63-76. Abstract and link to free full text
Orchard J, Farhart P, Kountouris A, James T, Portus M. Pace bowlers in cricket with history of lumbar stress fracture have increased risk of lower limb muscle strains, particularly calf strains. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine. 2010; 1:177-182. Abstract and link to free full text
Orchard J, James T, Portus M, Kountouris A, Dennis R. Fast Bowlers in Cricket Demonstrate Up to 3- to 4-Week Delay Between High Workloads and Increased Risk of Injury. The American journal of sports medicine. 2009; 37:1186-92. Abstract
Orchard J, James T, Portus M. Injuries to elite male cricketers in Australia over a 10-year period. Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport. 2006; 9:459-67. Abstract
Dennis R, Farhart P, Goumas C, Orchard J. Bowling workload and the risk of injury in elite cricket fast bowlers. Conference: Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, Sydney Australia. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport . 2003 Sep;6(3):359-67. Abstract
Gabbett T. Train Harder and Smarter: Injury prevention and performance enhancement for team sports. Sports Physio APA, Issue 3, 2012.
Sims K, Beakley D. Screening results that are predictive of injuries in Cricket. Sports Physio APA, Issue 3, 2012.
Kountouris A. Why do fast bowlers get lumbar spine stress fractures. Sports Physio APA, Issue 3, 2012.